Do Wellness Programs Actually Help People Manage Chronic Conditions?

Forty-four percent of consumers enrolled in wellness programs have a diagnosed chronic condition, according to a HealthMine report. But just 14% say that their wellness program helps them manage their disease. Only 29% say their wellness program offers a disease management program. Only 11% participate in disease management through their wellness program. And just 6% have connected a disease management application/tool to their wellness program. Bryce Williams, CEO and president of HealthMine says, “Health plans and wellness programs need to have real time analytics that guide each member on health actions. We are loaded with health data including lab results, insurance claims and more, but we are not analyzing the data or offering recommendations consistently enough. Programs that do will close gaps in care, thus helping members manage their chronic conditions and minimize costly co-morbidities and utilization.”

2015 Study Reveals Gaps in Wellness Programs

Fifty-three percent of about 6,000 consumers who were enrolled in health plans in 2015 say it’s not easy to understand their health information or how to maintain or improve their health, according to HealthMine’s research. Forty-six percent of consumers with a chronic condition discovered their illness through a wellness program. The study also revealed the following about consumers:

  • Less than one third know their key health metrics including their blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI, and blood sugar.
  • 53% can’t access all of their clinical health data from a computer. Another 39% can’t access all of their clinical and behavioral (collected by apps/trackers) health data from a single source.
  • 53% say it’s not easy to understand their health information or how to maintain or improve their health.
  • 55% want help from their healthcare plan in setting personal health goals. Another 65% want reminders about critical health actions, such as prescription refills and annual health exams.
  • 44% stay engaged in their wellness program throughout the year while 27% say that lack of time keeps them from engaging.
  • 55% say that wellness incentives have not been not meaningful, and little more than half actually earn all of their available incentives each year.
  • 38% say their wellness program helps them manage their costs.
  • 81% of wellness programs do not include a price comparison tool.

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Wellness Programs Effective in Uncovering Chronic Diseases

Twenty-eight percent of 750 participants in sponsored wellness programs have been diagnosed with a chronic condition in the past two years. And 46% of them discovered their chronic illness through a wellness program, according to a HealthMine survey. Seventy-four percent of employees surveyed say wellness programs should include genetic testing as a way to identify risk for chronic conditions. Some large insurers have already begun to incorporate genetic testing into their wellness programs, even as program sponsors await pending regulation over privacy and other protections. Most consumers also want plan sponsors to offer health screenings, which can detect risk factors and uncover chronic illness. In fact, 74% of respondents said they would participate in vision screenings; 73% would complete a blood pressure screening; and 69% want a cholesterol screening.

Last Updated 08/10/2022

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